Barbed Wire Kisses: The Jesus and Mary Chain Story

by Zoë Howe

Barbed Wire Kisses: The Jesus and Mary Chain Story

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SKU: 9781846974977 Category:


‘This Mary Chain book is a million times better than the Morrissey autobiography’ – @drphunkneuro

‘Highly recommend @zoehowe’s JAMC bio. A touching story of kids in the music business, recalled by their adult selves. a cut above the usual’ – Euan McColm

‘The best band in the world’ – Neil Taylor, NME

‘Pretty Scottish boys surfing a wave of doom and gloom and enjoying every moment of it. The Jesus and Mary Chain’s debut is a decadent alt rock masterpiece of bubblegum pop’ – Rolling Stone (naming the band’s debut album one of the 500 best albums of all time)

‘Thoroughly enjoying ‘Barbed Wire Kisses’. Great anecdotes & teenage memories’ – Vic Galloway

‘I just finished the Mary Chain book ‘Barbed Wire Kisses’. It’s f***ing brilliant. Get it read people’ – Stuart Braithwaite, Mogwai

‘Barbed Wire Kisses adroitly charts the Mary Chain’s career from their pre-Creation Portastudio demos through to their alcohol-fuelled implosion on 1998’s ill-fated Munki tour [ – ] It’s engaging throughout, but the chapters on the myth-making early years [ – ] leap especially vigorously off the page’ – Record Collector

‘Bunking the biographical trend, pleasingly filled more with anecdotes than footnotes’ – The Quietus

‘One of my favourite authors writing about one of my favourite bands, wonderful!’ – Den Browne

‘Zoë Howe is one of our favourite music writers – a great writer who is in love with rock n roll and a writer who can make the essence and magic of the dark stuff seem so alive’ – John Robb, Louder Than War

Musically, culturally and in terms of sheer attitude, The Jesus and Mary Chain stand alone. Their seminal debut album Psychocandy would change the course of popular music, and their iconic blend of psychotic white noise, darkly surreal lyrics and pop sensibility continues to enchant and confound.

This is the fierce, frank and often funny tale of The Jesus and Mary Chain, told by the band members themselves, as well as their associates for the first time. The story begins in the faceless new town of East Kilbride, near Glasgow, at the dawn of the 1980s with two chronically shy brothers, Jim and William Reid, listening to music in their shared bedroom. What follows charts the formation of The Jesus and Mary Chain, their incendiary live performances, their relationship with Alan McGee’s Creation Records and those famous fraternal tensions that prepared McGee for the onslaught of the Gallaghers, with plenty of feedback, fighting and, most importantly, perfectly crafted pop along the way. It is time this vastly influential group and sometime ‘public enemy’ had their say.

Zoë Howe is a music author whose other books include the acclaimed Typical Girls? The Story of the Slits; ‘How’s Your Dad?’ Living in the Shadow of a Rock Star Parent, British Beat Explosion – Rock n’ Roll Island and Dr Feelgood guitarist Wilko Johnson’s memoir Looking Back At Me, published by Cadiz Music in 2012. Her writing has also appeared in The Quietus, Company, Notion, BBC Music, Holy Moly, Classic Rock and NME. Zoë has also made music radio series for stations including the award-winning Resonance FM, and she can be heard talking about rock n’ roll from time to time on BBC 6 Music, Absolute Radio, Planet Rock, BBC London and elsewhere.


ISBN: 9781846974977

Publication date: 06/06/2019

Format: Paperback

Extent: 304

Publisher: Birlinn Ltd

Stock status: Reprinting, 2023

Categories: Birlinn/Polygon